Hong Kong arm of embattled Chinese conglomerate LeEco ordered by court to wind up business in city

LeEco, formerly called LeTV, is best known locally for providing television content

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 February, 2018, 3:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 February, 2018, 10:59pm

A Hong Kong arm of embattled Chinese conglomerate LeEco was on Wednesday ordered by a court to close down its operations in the city.

The High Court order came after LE Corporation filed a winding-up petition to liquidate its business in December last year.

The application led to the appointment of Barry Tong Piu and David James Bennett from accounting firm Grant Thornton as the company’s provisional liquidators.

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The order was officially granted by High Court Master Hui Ka-ho on Wednesday.

LeEco, formerly called LeTV, is best known in Hong Kong for providing television content.

According to the Companies Registry, LE Corporation is a private company incorporated on June 9, 2015. It is wholly owned by Beijing-based technology firm, which is a subsidiary of LeEco, founded by Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yueting.

The wind-up came after LE Corporation faced a flurry of civil claims starting in 2016.

These included a US$224,000 lawsuit over copyright fees mounted by Hong Kong film distributor Sundream Motion Pictures in December 2016, and a HK$530,000 (US$67,700) claim by local newspaper Hong Kong Economic Times seeking outstanding advertising fees.

In August 2016, a marketing firm also sued LE Corporation for marketing fees owed that amounted to HK$14 million.

LeSports, another branch of LeEco, also angered customers in May last year when it failed to broadcast the English FA Cup final because it had defaulted on a payment.

Just days later, an advertising company, Innity China Company, lodged a civil suit against LeSports involving overdue advertising fees of up to HK$3.85 million.

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The All England Lawn Tennis Club Championships, which organises the Wimbledon tennis event in Britain, then applied to put an end to LeSports’ business operations last August but withdrew the application two months later., legally known as Leshi Internet Information and Technology, is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Last November, mainland China’s securities regulator said it was investigating the firm for suspected fraud involving its 2010 initial public offering.

The embattled LeEco had received 15 billion yuan (US$2.36 billion) boost for its subsidiaries in January last year from billionaire property magnate Sun Hongbin, the chairman of Tianjin-based developer Sunac China Holdings.

The following July, Jia stepped down from his management role at Leshi.

It was announced last November that Sun had tried to bail out LeEco for a second time by providing US$270 million in loans to its video streaming and television units businesses Leshi Internet and Leshi Zhixin.

Last month, Sun refused to make any further financial commitments.